Google is allegedly fighting all attempts to get them to disclose what they pay women. You can probably guess why. As a group, women are paid less than men. This isn’t big or new news and remains one of the biggest problems for most industries. Fixing this problem is almost impossible because with very few exceptions we don’t know what someone should be paid for a job.
So, let’s talk about the trouble with compensation, how employees and managers are impacted by the issue and how it is far more painful a problem than you likely think.
The inherent unfairness of compensation
Let’s take two hypothetical people doing the same job, man or woman. If one of them started right out of college and worked hard, but never changed jobs their salary 20 years into the job will be based on the raises (performance, advancement, cost of living) they got during that period. But if they changed jobs every few years their compensation will likely be based on increases they were given every time they changed companies. Doing the same job, the person who was disloyal and changed firms, can make up to 2x what the person who didn’t change makes. Granted, it is generally more like 20 percent to 30 percent more, but that is a huge discrepancy for the same work.